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Thread: Can you enjoy art, or music from people you disagree with politically or morally?

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    Default Can you enjoy art, or music from people you disagree with politically or morally?

    For instance: Wagner, wrote a lot of great music, however was a big racist, Debussy, was just an all around unpleasant person, who happened to write good music. Poe was as well, seemed to like criticizing anyone and everything that wasn't his. You get the idea I hope of what I am asking, I personally can listen to anything that sounds good, and quite often do. What about yourself? Even if the person has been dead for 200 years can you appreciate someones work if you know they were the worst person ever? (In your eyes) Or is the art what is important?

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    Some recent threads focusing on political and religious issues related to music have digressed away from music and into purely religious or political discussions. We deleted many of the posts and closed several threads. Please remember that posts in the forum should not be purely political or religious.

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    I love Debussy. 'Nuff said!

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    Senior Member Xaltotun's Avatar
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    Kant can, Hegel cannot! The question is: is art just art or is it something more? Neither point of view is stupid.
    Wäre das Faktum wahr, – wäre der außerordentliche Fall wirklich eingetreten, daß die politische Gesetzgebung der Vernunft übertragen, der Mensch als Selbstzweck respektiert und behandelt, das Gesetz auf den Thron erhoben, und wahre Freiheit zur Grundlage des Staatsgebäudes gemacht worden, so wollte ich auf ewig von den Musen Abschied nehmen, und dem herrlichsten aller Kunstwerke, der Monarchie der Vernunft, alle meine Thätigkeit widmen.

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    Senior Member The nose's Avatar
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    Charles Manson wrote in a song "Just as long as you got love in your heart
    You'll never be alone"
    I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry." - John Cage

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    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    I could not care less about the character of the person behind the music. It's the music that counts.

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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    I generally don't care, but if you gave me a string quartet composed by Adolf Hitler, I'd have a hard time being open-minded about it.

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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMamba View Post
    I generally don't care, but if you gave me a string quartet composed by Adolf Hitler, I'd have a hard time being open-minded about it.
    I have a better question: if you listened to a string quartet without knowing the author and formed an opinion about it, and then someone told you it had been composed by AH, would that first opinion change?
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
    ***
    God gave all men all earth to love,
    But since our hearts are small,
    Ordained for each one spot should prove
    Beloved over all.
    R. Kipling

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    Senior Member Giordano's Avatar
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    If I don't know anything about the artist,
    then I can enjoy the art, or not.
    Once I do know something about the artist,
    it does influence my appreciation of the art.
    I also know that no person is without distortions in thinking
    and that art is sometimes clearer than the person.

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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegendesLicht View Post
    I have a better question: if you listened to a string quartet without knowing the author and formed an opinion about it, and then someone told you it had been composed by AH, would that first opinion change?
    I don't know. I might secretly like it, but refuse to listen to it. Possibly listening to it would make me think of Hitler and put me in a sour mood.

    Of course, this is an extreme example. Wagner and Gesualdo weren't Hitler.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manok View Post
    For instance: Wagner, wrote a lot of great music, however was a big racist, Debussy, was just an all around unpleasant person, who happened to write good music. Poe was as well, seemed to like criticizing anyone and everything that wasn't his. You get the idea I hope of what I am asking, I personally can listen to anything that sounds good, and quite often do. What about yourself? Even if the person has been dead for 200 years can you appreciate someones work if you know they were the worst person ever? (In your eyes) Or is the art what is important?
    I've thought a good deal about this over the years, and read on music as well as other areas such as history. While I don't think that knowledge of many of the less than positive aspects of composers' personalities, politics and behaviors towards their fellow human beings detracts from my enjoyment of their music, neither do I attempt to whitewash them and put them on pedestals as if they where removed from reality.

    In some respects, its perhaps better to know less than more about composers' lives, because the more I find out the more off putting things there tends to be. There are some composers I'd barely call human, even though they where great composers. There are quite a few whose ideologies or ways of thinking about music, however eloquently expressed, I find has little or nothing to do with reality and more to do with power games between rivalling composers or their cliques.

    At the same time there are quite a few who I'd be comfortable with calling humanitarians. Not many but enough to make a list of.

    There are also composers of whose lives outside the bare basics we know little about, or who have large gaps in their biographies.

    Bottom line is that composers and musicians are (and where) people just like us. They had their strengths and weaknesses in terms of character and other things. They had things that they could be proud of, and also things that are things that are negative aspects of their lives.

    Having said all that, the music is what matters, or has to matter. I realised if I moralize too much about who or what I am listening to, I would be listening to very little in terms of music, and this applies to classical music more than the other genres. More often than not, ideologies are little more than cloaks to hide personal power games between composers (even if we try to ignore politics and so on and restrict ourselves to music).
    Last edited by Sid James; Nov-03-2014 at 04:46.
    Genuine ersatz classical listener since 1981.

    Winner: TC Provider of Extraneous Information Award, 2012.

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegendesLicht View Post
    I have a better question: if you listened to a string quartet without knowing the author and formed an opinion about it, and then someone told you it had been composed by AH, would that first opinion change?
    My opinion wouldn't change. I can't imagine liking a work, then not liking it when I heard the name of the composer.

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    Senior Member Musicforawhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xaltotun View Post
    Kant can, Hegel cannot! The question is: is art just art or is it something more? Neither point of view is stupid.
    Care to expand on that? So Kant's theories meant he could separate a person from the art they create, but Hegel wouldn't have been able to?

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    Senior Member Levanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    I could not care less about the character of the person behind the music. It's the music that counts.
    Gesualdo,

    I agree with you to me as well I don't care personal issues. There is little problem with me now modern artist, I can't help myself. I do not admire whom walking just for money,giving any sort of advice and make too much money. Sorry to say but some art stories make me unhappy and of course is nothing we can do about that.

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    Senior Member Levanda's Avatar
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    Sorry for double post Gesualdo word by my mistake, silly me.

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